Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria |

Awestruck in Innsbruck!

Awestruck! That would be the one word I would use to describe Innsbruck. All around, towering over you, are the mountains. The jagged rock spires of the Nordkette range are incredibly majestic and are your backdrop for this beautiful alpine town. Being surrounded by ski slopes during the winter and mountainous hiking trails during the summer makes this a must-see destination for any adventurous traveller. There are only three places who have held the honour of hosting the Olympics more than once, and Innsbruck is one of them. Not adventurous? No problem, this town has enough charm and history to capture anyone’s interest. Read on and you will discover why.

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria |

Innsbruck, known as the capital of the Alps, dates back as far as the 1100s. It was then, when a bridge was built over the river allowing access to either side of the Inn River. So that is how it got its name, Innsbruck when translated, means the bridge over the inn.
Today, there are 12 bridges that connect Innsbruck’s 20 districts. The most popular bridge – with locals and tourists alike – is Innbrücke. It bears the city’s coat of arms and is a much-photographed landmark.

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria. Tour the charming alpine old town |

Innsbruck offers visitors a fairy tale old town (or Altstadt) which is chock-full of 13th to 14th century Baroque and Gothic architecture. Today they hold museums, galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes. The colourful buildings in the old town are decorated with wall murals and the most creative and intricate metal signs hanging above the shop doors, all to indicate what lies inside. Strolling through these attractive streets and alleyways is a definite must.

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria. Tour the charming alpine old town |

The Impressive Buildings in the Altstadt

One of the main attractions in the old town is The Golden Roof (or Goldenes Dachl). Its tiny balcony with a roof, was to serve as a royal box to enjoy the square below. It’s adorned with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles that glisten in the sun. It is one of the most unique architectures I have seen in Europe, and of course, pictures never really do it justice!

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria |

The building beside The Golden Roof is Stadtturm. It is a medieval structure built in the 1400s and was used as a prison. Today, it is a watchtower and is definitely a standout building with its contrasting orangey-red walls.   

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria. Tour the charming alpine old town |

The building directly across from The Golden Roof was my favourite. The impressive Helbling Haus, is one of the finest and most elaborate Baroque buildings in town. The intricate details are simply amazing, aren’t they?

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria |

And, lastly the Gothic Hofkirche (or court church) was built in 1553 as a memorial to the Emporer’s grandfather, Maximillian I. The real showstopper is the interior, full of wonderful Renaissance and Gothic details.

The Impressive Maria-Teresia Street

After spending some time in the Altstadt, why not take a stroll down Maria-Theresia Street (or Maria-Theresien Strasse) to the Triumphal Arch. In doing so you will gaze upon some of the most well-preserved century homes and buildings on either side. It is such a lively street with some of Innsbruck’s best shops. In addition, Rathaus Galarie, an indoor light, bright and airy shopping center is here. 

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria. Tour the charming alpine old town |
Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria |

If you ever tire of walking and still want to see more of the city, take the cable car called the Hungerburgbahn, which will come through the tunnel, over the bridge and through the main part of the city. What a relaxing and charming way to see the beautiful views of the city.

Awe-struck in Innsbruck Austria |

Lastly, you cannot visit Innsbruck without indulging in one of Austria’s most famous chocolate cake, Sachertorte, filled with apricot jam and a shot of rum. This rich treat, served with a strong coffee, in a tiny café is the best way to round out your day of sightseeing.

As a holidaymaker…

Adventuresome or not, Innsbruck is a great place to visit, even if it’s just for one day. Sitting close to the German border, it offers a great day trip from most Bavarian towns, for example, Garmisch-Partnerkirchen is only an hour away. You will be awestruck by its beauty, its charm and its most incredible scenic views. 

Awestruck in Innsbruck Austria |


    • The.Holidaymaker

      How wonderful that you have been twice! Have you visited during both the winter and summer?

  • Angela

    I have visited Innsbruck in the winter when the snow was thick everywhere but it looks so magical in summer that I think I would like to return. Such pretty pastel buildings all around.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Angela for your comment. I was wondering the same, when I visited during May, I thought what must this city look like with a blanket of snow?! When we were there it was very lush and green everywhere.

  • Carrie Ann | Should Be Cruising

    Innsbruck looks gorgeous – I love your photos! Those ornate buildings are just so beautiful, especially set against the backdrop of the mountains. One day, I’ll get there. I’d love to sit at a cafe and munch on Sachertorte while enjoying that view 😀

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Carrie Ann. I hope you get there one day too! And, it sounds like you love my idea of enjoying the view with a piece of Sachertorte.

  • Jan

    Looks like a must-see city with the beautiful mountains all around! I love your title – just appropriate. I have visited Vienna and Salzburg but not Innsbruck. Your pictures are really awesome! Will mark this place for my next visit. 🙂

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks so much for your comment Jan. I am so glad you think the title is well suited- I kind of thought so! 🙂 I have yet to visit Vienna, but have been to Salzburg a couple of times. Innsbruck is my favourite.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Wow, I think so! Just think of the different perspective you will have all these years later.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Krystianna. This was just a teaser for me too, I only went to Salzburg and Innsbruck while driving through the Alps and would love to return too!

  • Heather

    I have only been to Vienna and Salzburg but wanted to go to Innsbruck. I like how it got its name and will definitely have to look for the bridge. I LOVE ornate baroque architecture and the Helbling Haus and the Gothic Hofkirche would be at the top of my photography list. They are absolutely gorgeous! I know all about the sachertorte. I had a few different ones in Vienna including the original!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Heather, for your comment. The bridge is likely most popular because of the views it offers – the colourful buildings set against the Alps with the pretty river flowing by. It is definitely a photogenic city with lots of Baroque buildings, I definitely think you would love it!

  • Patricia Pagenel

    I visited Innsbruck about 30 years ago, on a short trip to Austria. The architecture is so lovely, and of course, the history of Austria and how it impacted Europe is undeniable. It’s probably time to go and visit again, strolling along the majestic Maria-Teresia Street!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I am wondering how your perspective would change after 30 years of a return visit! Thanks for you comment Patricia.

  • Ada

    Gosh, I want to spend some time in the Alps and Innsbruck looks like a gorgeous place to visit. Not sure I feel brave enough to try my hand at skiing, but I think it would be great to just wander around. Innsbruck always makes me think of Hemingway, since I think he went on a ski vacation here with his first wife in the 1920s.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks for your comment Ada! I read Ernest in Love and can’t remember where it was, but you are right he did ski in this area.

  • April Key C. Rode

    I always love reading all these historical buildings you find in your travels. This place is an exciting and magnificent place to explore. I am in awe of the details of each building, especially Maria Teresia Street.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you so much April! I am so glad you like them. Definitely this town is well preserved and has beautiful architecture.

  • Candy

    I have never heard of this place and the landscape is absolutely stunning. I also love the architecture. The history behind the Triumphal Arch was so interesting. I can now see why there is both joy and mourning gin the design!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Candy for you for comment. Yes, you can’t beat a city nestled into the Alps, it is definitely very picturesque.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      It definitely looks like you need to plan another trip there! Thanks for your comment.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Tania. Agreed, can you imagine if you get to call Hebling Haus home? Hopefully the interior is just as well preserved as the exterior.

  • Josy A

    Those mountains!! I want to visit Innsbruck sooo much! One of my husband’s best friends grew up in the mountains near here, we’ve been waiting for him to propose so we can visit Innsbruck for his wedding…but he is so slow. We might just have to give up and go before they around to getting hitched.

    Your photos are gorgeous Renee! You always give me extra wanderlust!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Josy for your comment and kind words. If you love to hike, then this is the place to go!

  • Michael Hodgson

    There is just something about Austria and its mountain towns nestled into the Alps. Been ages since I have been to Innsbruck, and my mum absolutely loved the city (along with Salzburg), but your post brought back a lot of memories. Time to go back I think.

  • Lydia

    I’m an avid skier so this places looks perfect for that, but also those in my family that don’t ski!! I love all the colours and history of the place. I would definitely love to go sometime

    • The.Holidaymaker

      If you are a skier then definitely this needs to be your destination! Thanks for your comment Lydia.

  • Delphine

    I love this little town nestled in the mountains… The coloured facades are adorable! I can imagine a tram ride followed by a hot chocolate and cake, perfect way to explore the Austrian Alps!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks you Delphine, I am so glad you agree that would make for the perfect way to spend your day too!

  • Alison

    I would just love to go to Austria and Innsbruck, in particular. Those facades on the buildings are lovely. I would love to sit at a café indulge in sachertorte, people watch and stare at the Alps! That does it… it’s officially on the bucket list!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment. Best time to go? I think it all depends on what you like to do. It really is that destination for all seasons. If you are a skier, then definitely the winter. The focus is on outdoor activities like skiing, skating, hiking, ice rock scaling, luge and more. We went in the spring and it was so vibrant with flowers, the snow still on the Alps and the rivers were icy blue colour. So pretty.

  • Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Innsbruck before, but I’m so glad you wrote this post because it’s definitely going on my must-visit list for Europe! The buildings are incredible, but I think I’d agree that I’m most impressed by the Helbling Haus. It looks like it’s made of fine porcelain!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I am so glad I was able to introduce a new place to some people who haven’t heard much about this picturesque place. Thanks for your comment Kevin.

  • Jacqueline M Gately

    What a fascinating mix of architecture. Baroque is my favorite, too! I think the Golden Roof in the old town looks as though it has Asian influences? I never knew Innsbruck was named for the bridge (and so many, now)! I love all this interesting facts and lore. Thank you!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Jacqueline for your comment. I see what your saying about the Asian influences in that Golden Roof, I wish I knew a little more about it to pass along more facts.

  • Natalie

    I would love to spend a couple of weeks exploring the history and character of the buildings, all set with such a magnificent backdrop. I am sure there are some fantatic book shops and coffee shops to enjoy. Absolutely beautiful!

  • Jane

    I have flown in to Innsbruck many times and the scenery coming in to land is spectacular. However, as we have always been on a ski trip there has never been the opportunity to explore Innsbruck itself. I am promising myself that this will be rectified as soon as possible. Innsbruck looks absolutely beautiful with so much interesting achitecture. The Golden Roof is exquisite, but like you, I think my favourite would be Helbling Haus.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      What an impressive sight it must be from the air! I’m glad to hear that one of your future ski trips will include going to visit the Old Town. The architecture is stunning, and there are so many great restaurants to choose from. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    We had a short visit to Austria and had to pick just a few stops and sadly Innsbruck did not make the list. We just waved when we passed by on the train. It sure does look like a fairy tale spot in the mountain. With interesting architecture like the Golden Roof, I am sure we would wander the city for days. And of course we would not pass on a Sacher torte!

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